Not a Trace of Ink Will Be Left Behind: How to Get a Ballpoint Pen Out of Fabric

Ballpoint pen marks on clothing are a common problem for parents of schoolchildren. Such stains are considered one of the most persistent. The ink penetrates deep into the fabric and even expensive stain removers “don’t pick it up”. Do not rush to throw away such a thing – we will name the best home remedies that remove the ballpoint pen from clothes without a trace.

Micellar water
This remedy from mom’s nightstand is good for getting fresh ink marks out of fabric. Soak the stain in micellar water for 20 minutes and then the machine washes the item.


Ordinary drugstore alcohol can even get rid of a whole ampoule of ink. Use alcohol of at least 96% strength. Alcohol usually removes ink instantly, but if it does not work right away, leave it on the fabric for 15 minutes. Alcohol will not help on delicate fabrics, as well as leather and eco-leather.


Hairspray is good at getting ink out of tough fabrics, such as briefcases or raincoats. The treatment is best done outside or in a room with windows open. You may need a whole bottle of hairspray for a large stain. Generously sprinkle the stain with varnish and let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse the stain with cold water.

Melamine sponge

This miracle material, which has gained huge popularity around the world, is good at getting ink stains out of any fabric. Simply wet the sponge with water and rub the soiled area. You can buy a melamine sponge at hardware and home improvement stores.


Apply white toothpaste without any additives to the ink stain. Allow it to stand for 15 minutes and rinse under cold water. More often than not, toothpaste successfully removes small stains.

Oxygen powder

Another product that is well-recommended by parents of schoolchildren. Dissolve the oxygen powder in warm (40-50°) water. Soak the soiled pen cloth in this solution for 30-40 minutes.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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